Life Within Our Stories
Humans are defined by their stories:
- The first way to learn Taoism is to experience it through living.
- Taoism as a practice teaches with stories.
- The exploring of a story is an art. Take the time to expand what you see in all stories.
- To hold truth as a story allows a person to achieve more flexibility in life.
- A relationship is a sharing of stories. All relationships revolve around our stories. Relationship problems happen when stories don’t match up between two people. So understanding the nature of how we work with stories is crucial in having healthy relationships.
Day to day life is all about how we work with our stories.
To be Human.
In Taoism, we define a human as:
A Living Being capable of holding their own story. A being who extends their instincts with stories.
Our essence, is our spark of life that explores one story to the next. Wearing a story as clothing: to interact with the world. This is very important, since in Taoism we teach how to embrace one’s story fully and gracefully.
But its also important for another reason.
We are our essence, not our stories.
Humans often make the mistake to think they are the clothing being worn or more literally the case than people realize: the story held around our essence. This is not true. The stories we hold to are merely the vehicles to explore life thru.
The biggest trap we face is that people often only see us for our stories rather than our essence. How we hold our stories is important in how we manage our relationships.
Stories of Who We Are
How many stories make you, who you are?
Think about this for a moment. We all hold countless stories of who we are.
Let me use myself as an example. Here is a list of my stories that I could kick out in 60 seconds without effort:
Son, Father, Husband, Ex-Husband, Teacher, Taoist, Engineer, Physicist, Explorer, Casey, me, Friend, Business Man, Builder, Fool, Seer, Handy Man, Home Owner, Mentor, Brother, Hermit and Guide.
Which story I list above is fully correct? This list doesn’t include dozens of other stories I have explored over the years. This list doesn’t include all the stories others think I might be and for sure some people would disagree about some of the stories I did list.
The first problem is this: People think and hold their stories as truth.
No one story holds complete truth. Once you hold one of your stories as absolute truth, you have fallen into the trap of self-judgment and open yourself to internal and external conflicts. All stories contain some truth, and all stories include some fiction. Worse those truths and fictions vary depending on each person’s perspective.
Now here is a fundamental problem of humanity. People insist on only being one story in their life. This causes so many many problems.
Let’s go thru a straightforward example:
Let’s look at a person was is a Husband, a Father and who is a hard working Banker.
Story 1) I am a good Banker because I make lots of money.
Story 2) I am a good Husband because I love my wife.
Story 3) I am a good Father because I teach my children.
Now here is the fundamental problem: people tend to only focus on a few things at once. Once a person unconsciously begins to merge the stories into a single account, the facts mix and match and then due to priorities in life tend to re-shuffle into something entirely different.
So our married father banker becomes this.
Merged Single Story: I am a good husband as I make lots of money.
This is an entirely different story and one that ensures that this person becomes a very unhappy person. This new single merged story being held focuses on actions that fail to support any of the original stories intentions. The job falls behind because you are always concerned about the family who is unhappy, your wife is pissed because you only spend time trying to figure out a better way to make more money and the kids feel neglected because they aren’t even in the story anymore.
If you think this example is too simple, think again, I see this over and over again. A typical lesson I have to teach people is: don’t think of your life as a single true story, it’s better to live several stories at once. No one story can represent your entire truth, don’t make the mistake of condensing your life into a single story.
Learning From Stories
Since humans are a story by nature, it means we enjoy listening and learning from stories also.
In fact, ego and the role of ego are to keep the spirit within a story it’s currently wearing. All too often a consequence of being human is to lose ourselves in our stories, or even worse having ego trap us into stories that no longer serve a graceful purpose.
If to be human is to explore our stories.
How much time do you spend listening and following stories told by others, or sold to you by the culture you live within? Rather than taking the time to truly and fully live your own story fully?
Sadly, too many souls lose freedom chasing stories which don’t serve the heart anymore.
If you feel
- Your culture is out of control
Discover freedom and power are to live your own story.
The way modern culture defines “Human” needs to expand out over time.
Being Human and being Homo Sapiens are two vastly different things.
Being human includes the capacity for empathy, the ability to be conscious and recognize how we are one and part of something greater. This is a challenge for the future as Homo Sapiens begins to discover how life on our planet (and maybe others) already exceeds their own ability to define intelligence.
Being only “Homo Sapiens” means acting no better than any other life form trying to eat and reproduce its way selfishly across time for no other purpose than to just be a living fire.
Currently with Homo Sapiens destroying the planet earth, in butchering other life down in consumption and greed. It could be argued that “Homo Sapiens” is less human than it gives itself credit. I would go as far as to say: This next decade will be a test for Homo Sapiens to discover if it can live up to being both human and humane.
In Taoism, we separate out the term to be a “true human” to those who go beyond a consumption/attachment based lifestyle and to instead live kindly, compassionately and gracefully. In others words, Taoism for thousands of years has defined a true human to exceed past just being “Homo Sapiens” and embracing a lifestyle which manages a balance of spiritual, physical and mental aspects.
To be truly human is
- A living being who with Self Awareness extends their instincts with stories.
- To truly be kind. Which means to be aware of essence and navigate with grace against each essence you encounter.
For a Taoist, to be human is not a function of species but rather of lifestyle and choices made.
I have known animals which have been far more human than executives of BP or similar greedy individuals. If Homo Sapiens destroys the earth in greed, then Homo Sapiens ends itself and loses the chance to discover what it means to be truly human.
Our actions do change the planet, and your choices made now, truly do determine if you are human or just an ape dancing about.
This is about each of our own choices in lifestyle and how we hold our stories. Pointing fingers connects one to being part of the problem, and keeps you connected to the very story you are trying to release from your life. While people will make excuses all the time: the truth is you either live kindly, or you don’t. Modern consumption lifestyles don’t leave much in the middle as one barrel down the road at 88 miles per hour trying to go back in time to fix what is beyond one’s reach to change.
It’s to embrace change in a meaningful way with our stories that can save us from our own animal nature to just consume.
We Hold Many Stories
All my students know how I teach the way people view their life as stories.
I teach how to shift the way we view stories: to hold stories lightly and embrace stories from many angles to see the world completely. To see stories from angles of truth and falseness both.
I came across this Video today, and it made me smile!
Keep in mind the media only projects single stories from an elite point of view. If you truly want to discover the world. Turn the mainstream news off: begin to share stories, both your own story (not the stories others give to you to think as being you!) and other people’s stories.
This also means not to only project out a single story of your own life, since to do so likewise limits your own nature.
Discover life is not a single story, but rather all stories combined to represent a world of Humanity. Not as a single merging as our stories but as a collage of humanity to represent the hopes of billions of people working to become something greater.
Letting Go the Bad Stories
This is a very good visual example of how we repeat patterns: how our parents and our society teach us when we grow. How we repeat what we grew up with.
What we need to learn:
Is how to grow beyond the stories we repeat, and repeat.. and repeat through the generations. To make life our own instead of following the script handed down as your inheritance.
The challenge isn’t in what to say to others or how to present your life to others.
The challenge is not to get caught up in your story too deeply or the drama too tightly that you then forget that isn’t you to begin with.
We can release stories of abuse, of our past. Release stories which are not you, but of others that were deeply impressed into you.
In essence we are simple beings: it’s how we express ourselves when it gets complicated and once complicated we tend to lose ourselves to the stories as they grow out of control.
Stories are like cobwebs & dust in a old house. Every once in a while you need to clean them out and start fresh again. The simpler your house, the easier it is to remove the old stories out.
The House = You! Your roles, your past, your dreams, people’s memories of you, your memories and expectations: those are all stories.
You truly do get to choose which stories to keep and which ones to dust out. Even how people remember or hold you can be released so you can live in new ways.
If you were to clean your “House“:
What would you dust out to begin anew? What stories would you release?
If you are a parent:
What stories do you want your children to inherit?
How to Handle Our Stories
Modern psychology is beginning to catch up to older practices like Taoism regarding our nature as a human being.
It’s important to understand a human being holds many stories. No one story represents full truth of one’s life. It’s how we learn to accept our stories and use them to become more than just a story that is critical in this process.
We teach how to live in the “now” in Taoism, that is: to come to terms with oneself. The self-aware aspect of our consciousness in the present time is what our storytelling self tends to bury. But Taoism also teaches how to understand and handle the storytelling side of our nature. We live in more than the “now”. We also are taught in Taoism how to control our destiny and the stories that shape this destiny.
The melding of what Kahneman calls the “two selves” into a fuller self is a path well worth exploring, and one that Taoism teaches how to do in great detail: since it leads to one’s Personal Tao.
Taoism is in part a practice of story management. This is all about making one’s life art of graceful living: mixing the present and the stories we accept as our nature. If you need help learning how to do this, contact Casey, and he can start teaching you.
Seeing Stories with Eyes of Kindness
The universe is always a very kind place. It’s never a nice nor a cruel place. Niceness and cruelty are human created constructs based on how a person interacts with the world relative to their inner stories. Inner stories are never truly perfect representations of the world, so care must be taken in how you inter-relate with stories.
Discover Kindness is to stay in tune to your essence so you don’t get twisted around stories that can be broken and cruel or limited and nice.
Niceness comes out from a person giving something extra. The only trouble is many times what we give in niceness isn’t needed by those receiving the action, OR we give away too much of our own essence to diminish ourselves.
Cruelty is when taking away from some else’s essence. Cruelty not only takes away from another, but it also cuts away from your own soul.
Nice and Cruel are reflections of each other.
The reflection to kindness is rudeness. Rudeness is when you disrespect another’s essence.
As a human, to live kindly is a process of reflection and awareness, since it requires a constant readjustment of all the personal inner stories we wear over our hidden essence.
Once you begin to strip away the stories worn, it becomes easier to be kind. Since it then becomes possible to “see/feel” your inner essence.
But it’s not practical to strip away all of our stories since in being human, we are in part stories. The trick is using awareness to release the stories which are cruel.
In the west people tend to first relate to Buddhism, so understand:
In Buddhism, the process is to release everything to achieve Nirvana.
So in Buddhism: Seekers practice releasing suffering which translates to releasing all attachments to your stories.
But we are Taoist’s here
In Taoism, the goal is to embrace the essence fully and to explore our possibilities.
So in Awakening Dragon Taoism: We release ungraceful stories, any story which is “rude” to the essence. Taoist’s embrace (live) the stories which their essence decides as being the beautiful stories to explore in the dance of life, before releasing back into the fullness of being one with the universe.
So when I talk with others, my path is to help teach people, how to be themselves: assisting in perspective to reveal which stories match to their essence, to make their own as true, fully in this process.
The framework of Taoism is not a definition of a destination. Rather Taoism contains many simple tools: compassion, kindness, modesty, awareness that allows us each to discover our destiny based on the story we weave, one day at a time.
Sharing Our Stories
A Dash of Luck in Your Story
Taoism teaches how to live to potential. So generally speaking Taoists tend to be what others would call “lucky”. What is luck? Luck is the ability to embrace and activate what a person would consider positive potentials or grace.
If you desire good luck then move towards the potentials, you desire to define your life by.
- Use awareness to flow with the surrounding energy. To then better use your energy when required at key points.
- Use awareness to understand how the potential around you is shifting. Avoid rip tide potentials that would otherwise sink one into negative outcomes.
- Understand Positive / Negative are relative terms and it’s always possible to use all potential to improve and have a graceful life within.
- Use kindness to best work with others to jointly worked towards beneficial potentials.
- Work with transformation rather than resisting crisis.
- Be aware of our nature holding stories and avoid being pulled into any unnecessary drama.
- Be aware of the nature of stories and avoid following predictable and nonuseful plot lines that don’t serve you.
- Be aware of the nature of stories and allow yourself to write new plots as required to exceed.
Much of Taoist practice is teaching a person the nature of being human. Learning how to be human should include lessons of story management techniques. Once you know how to shift and work with stories, you no longer become a victim of fate (those highly persistent plotlines). If you embrace a lifestyle of awareness to explore potential, then you will discover your stories will have many lucky openings for positive destinies.